Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
Moscow-installed leaders in occupied areas of four Ukrainian regions plan to hold referendums on joining Russia in coming days, a challenge to the West that could sharply escalate the war and drew condemnation from Ukraine and its allies.
* Russia paved the way for the formal annexation of swathes of Ukrainian territory, backing referendum plans in areas its soldiers control.
* U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington rejected any such referendums “unequivocally.” French President Emmanuel Macron and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda both described the planned votes as “parody.”
* U.S. President Joe Biden will try to rally the world against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, saying Moscow’s war against its neighbor violates the tenets of the U.N. charter.
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has hinted he would use a video address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to call on countries to accelerate weapons and aid deliveries.
* Ukraine’s armed forces regain control of the village of Bilohorivka, preparing to retake all of Luhansk province from Russian occupiers, provincial Governor Serhiy Gaidai said. The village is only 10 km (6 miles) west of Lysychansk city, which fell to the Russians after weeks of grinding battles in July.
* Russian forces struck the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region but its reactors have not been damaged and are working normally, Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom said.
* Reuters could not verify battlefield reports.
* Zelenskiy said investigators had discovered new evidence of torture used against some soldiers buried near Izium, in the northeastern Kharkiv region.
* The Kremlin rejected allegations that Russian forces had committed war crimes in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region as a “lie.”
* A senior U.S. administration official said the United States expects more banks will cut off Mir, a Russian payment system, over sanctions risk.
* U.S. senators propose using secondary sanctions on international banks to strengthen a price cap G7 countries plan to impose on Russian oil.
* British Prime Minister Liz Truss and French President Emmanuel Macron will work together to reduce volatility in the energy market and cut costs for households facing soaring bills, a Downing Street spokesperson said. (Compiled by Lincoln Feast)